Ben Stokes scored his 6th Test ton    Getty Images
Ben Stokes scored his 6th Test ton Getty Images

England were reeling at 71 for 4 courtesy another top order failure. West Indies pacers were on song. Joe Root needed someone to hold one end as he looked in his elements after getting an early reprieve. Ben Stokes, his deputy, played the second fiddle’s role to perfection. He not only stitched an important stand with Root, but took England’s score to 258 single-handedly, and slammed his 6th ton in whites. After end of Day 1 of the second Test, Stokes felt nice to take advantage of the dropped catches and make a big score. He was given a lifeline twice; at 9 and 98. He also added that West Indies pacers bowled in lot better lines and made them work hard for runs.

“It’s always nice to. You get some luck every now and again and to do well you need that on your side. Getting dropped, you put it to the back of your mind. Another day they hold it and you’re walking off. I don’t think you can take too much from the dropped chances”, stated Stokes after his 124-ball knock.

Judging the nature of the surface, Stokes was quick to make the changes while batting. He revealed what went in his mind during his nonchalant innings. “I found it quite hard to start with. I had to change my normal approach. I walked down the wicket, went deep in my crease just to create any length or line changes. I got a couple away and then thought it’s a slow wicket, if I play my attacking shots, it needs to be 100 per cent rather than half-hearted and potentially spoon to point or in to the slips.”

Stokes added, “When you get in to a rhythm like I got out there, you keep going with it. I used my depth of crease more than I usually do. I managed to turn some of their balls in to full balls which I managed to drive and hit through the leg-side. I thought their (West Indies) seam bowling unit bowled a lot better than they did at Edgbaston. They made it hard work for us. The conditions were more in the bowlers favour. There was always a bit of seam movement and every now and then the ball swung.”

On 98, Stokes was again given a reprieve as Shannon Gabriel dropped sitter at mid off. The same bowler got the better of him at 100. Gabriel had some words for the left-hander, but Stokes was unmoved by it. He said, “It’s not the first time. It’s part of the game. He was probably annoyed at himself for dropping me on 98. There’s nothing to it. It’s international sport. There’s no worries with it whatsoever.”

England managed a paltry score in the end on Day One. Nonetheless, from 71 for 4, they would be happy to take 258. Stokes remained optimistic and quoted, “As a team, we said it’s not one of our best days with the bat. But you never know if it’s a good score until the West Indies’ innings. It’s 260 more than we had this morning. It’s how we respond tomorrow and the areas we bowl to hopefully create a few chances”, concluded the 26-year-old.